Proper Etiquette

Etiquette matters. 

At Yates & Yates, we advise our clients to be the kinds of authors that people working on their book will stay after 5:00 p.m. to work on it. We want you to be a "nights & weekends" author. It’s not because we are some kind of publishing Scrooge. It’s because people will put in extra time and effort on the projects they like versus the ones they don’t. Maybe better put, they’ll go the extra mile for authors they really like.

No one in publishing stays late to work on projects they hate. Why? Because the ones you hate get the minimum, nothing extra. 

(By the way, we recently covered all of this in Author Coaching University. The enrollment period for the 2022-23 Author Coaching University term is not open yet, but you can join our waitlist and be one of the FIRST to know when the application window opens for the next session in the coming weeks.)

So how do you become one of those authors? 

It starts with publishing etiquette. 

When we say “etiquette,” you probably think of your mom scolding you for having your elbows on the table or reminding you to say “please” before she will pass you the peas. You might not have known it then, but your mom knew something about publishing that you can use today. 

Thanking the people who work on your book will go a long way. You might think, "Well, isn’t that their job?!?!" It totally is. But they’ve got a lot of books to work on. Sending them a quick thank you email or a Starbucks gift card for their next cup of coffee will pay you dividends. Remember, you want them to be invested in a way that makes them work harder for you. 

For example, you might get into a disagreement over edits in a conversation with your editor. Your editor has suggested a change you don’t agree with and now the two of you are at an impasse. "Seek first to understand," as Stephen Covey says in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Giving your editor a chance to speak their mind and explain further will help them both be heard AND feel seen by you. Here’s something else to remember whenever you find yourself in conflict with your publisher: Don’t forget that they do this for a living. They work on a lot of books, and there’s a lot of wisdom stored up. You are only working on one book, while they might be working on many more this season. Listen to what they have to say. Their perspective is important.

Aspiring to be a "nights & weekends" author is a great goal. It means you’re approaching your publishing career as a professional, not an amateur. You are going pro. One thing that professionals know is when to wave the white flag. What we mean is: If you’re going to be late on your manuscript, it’s better to surrender now rather than wait until the night before - or worse, the day of - your deadline to communicate about your delay. It’s just like when you’re stuck in traffic and know you’re not going to be on time. When your manuscript deadline is a month out, and you’re way behind schedule, don’t make the mistake of telling yourself you’ll make up the time by speeding on the freeway. It’s good manners to let your agent and editor know right away. That way they can help you. But it will also help your editor manage your project in relation to all of their other projects. Like we said before, they’ve got a lot of books they are working on. Giving them a heads up as soon as you can will not go unnoticed. Professionals manage their careers, while amateurs believe they can write 35,000 words in two weeks.

As Sealy Yates, our founding partner at Yates & Yates says, “Once the contract is signed, everyone is on the same team.” If you can remember that and apply the rules of etiquette, your book, and subsequently your publishing career, will be better off because of it.

Now, keep your elbows off the table and your deadlines in sight.   


TAKE ACTION:  ACU 2022-23 Enrollment is Opening Soon

What if you had the secrets of the publishing industry explained to you? Imagine having a mentor walk with you step-by-step to getting your book published. 

The enrollment period for the 2022-23 Author Coaching University term is not open yet, but you can join our waitlist and be one of the FIRST to know when the application window opens for the next session! Spots will be limited and we'll only be accepting applications for a short window.

Not sure about Author Coaching University?  Watch a recent recording of an ACU cohort session now. Not only will it provide you an idea of what YOU can experience in this amazing community, but we hope you will take advantage of the FREE content you will hear with its discussion, questions, and tips.


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